The State Department's public hearing on the permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline was a very worthwhile endeavor. This Keystone XL pipeline proposal is a proposal to build an oil pipeline from the Tar Sands region of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico Coast region of the United States where there is a concentration of refineries. Today there exist the working technology through super heating and other processes to turn Canada's tar sands into oil, it is presently being done yet because there is so much of this natural resource in Canada it could be done in dramatically higher volumes and help fill the world's oil needs. The opponents of the pipeline made some very excellent points which the U.S. Federal government should respond to. First, I think the Federal government should be upholding one overriding principle in the permit approval and regulating process for this pipeline which is we will respect and care about the Canadian and Indian people affected by this pipeline as great neighbors would and as if they were our own citizens, that being said let's get to the details. The opponents mentioned that the processing of tar sands into oil produces a watery toxic by-product sludge that is stored in open pools where these pools have a history of leeching or traversing into Canadian rivers, lakes and water ways and among many things at least pollute Canadian drinking water and the argument is that if this oil production is increased this pollution problem will increase which is an utter disgrace to say the least. So, the one major condition on permit approvals to operating permit approvals will be no leeching no leaking of these by-product pools into any canadian water ways period if it is happening at a Canadian producers production site it is absolute with no exceptions that that producers oil will go in the Keystone XL pipeline. Listen America has this problem with coal waste pools from coal producing power facilities and were able to protect citizens from contamination of their aquifers we can bring about this being done in Canada. The related problem that opponents mentioned which is an extremely very serious problem and which to my limited and non-expert knowledge isn't a solvable problem but should not be an impediment to proceeding with this project because the problem already exists and whether or not this pipeline is built tar sand oil production is going to dramatically ramp-up so this problem will still be there, the problem that I am referring to is that these toxic by-product sludge pools are open pools so they release pollution in the air which arguably has toxic fumes in it and Canadians and Indians in the tar sands production region are subjected to that polluted air which without a doubt subject these human beings to fowl smelling air and probably to some degree increases the risk of them experiencing a health problem and the logic goes that if you increase tar sand oil production which this pipeline will do you increase increase the size of these pools and thus the air pollution. At minimum a condition of this permit should put yearly limits on the yearly growth of the surface area of these pools common sense would seem to indicate that the larger the surface area the more air pollution would be generated so restraining this growth would provide some aid in protecting local Canadians from air pollution harm. Just a thought on the subject as said I am no expert but one would thing that with the technology that exists today that tar sand oil producers should be able to take all the water out of the by-product substance leaving a relatively dry toxic by-product substance and if that was the case then these producers should be able to dig deep pits and line them with clay and after the toxic by-product is dumped in the pits cover them with clay so it can't seep into the air this would obviously not be cheap but it would protect the Canadian public and it is something that operators of trash dumps in the U.S. do all the time; if readily achievable this should be mandated as a condition for approval of needed permits for the pipeline. Opponents argued that tar sands have a lot of toxic substances in them and the processing of this tar sand itself produces a lot of dangerous air pollution this complaint to a reasonable person clearly has merit so a condition of the needed permits should be that all tar sand oil producers putting oil in the pipeline use state-of-the-art air pollution suppression equipment and that is not theoretical state-of-the-art equipment it is actual in use working at big refineries state-of-the-art air pollution equipment and that condition has no exceptions. Opponents of the pipeline from the Mid-west and other states which the pipeline will go through made one other argument that has a lot of merit, and should move the government to take dramatic steps to address these concerns, which is that this pipeline will traverse or run close to rivers, lakes, reservoirs and the like some being aquifers for Americans and what happens when there is a leak or a break in the pipeline and oil with its high toxicity pollutes these bodies of water. The pipeline industry can do more than what it is understood by the general public that it does today on this specific issue. What I have in mind relates to the idea of the mandatory double hull ships that US law now mandates all oil tanker transporters use the idea is that if one barrier breaks you still have a back-up barrier to protect the environment from oil leakage; specifically the idea is that for the Keystone XL pipeline where it traverses or comes close to bodies of water have a duct or surrounding pipe or the like underneath or around the pipeline to catch any oil that spills out and run that protective tray or container long enough so the if there is a breakage in the pipeline and oil is spilling out it will be transported by this containment duct far enough away from these bodies of water that when the oil runs out into the open air it won't contaminate the water, if this construction design is doable and practically a viable idea it should be a mandatory condition for permit approval for the pipeline. What struck me as surprising listening to a lot of the opponents of the pipeline at the hearing, is that they essentially gave eloquent and moving remarks about how America needs to get off its dependence on oil and the pipeline needs to be deep sixed to further this goal. These opponents are not demonstrating good sense and wisdom with this line of thinking these issues are not connected. If this pipeline is canceled America is still going to need to import what is it like fifty percent of the oil it uses. The critical point here is that if America doesn't get this oil from Canada we got to get it from OPEC and they are a much less friendlier seller than Canada. This is not to disparage any particular member country of OPEC in fact contrary to a lot Americans this American believes the facts are that Saudi Arabia has been a great friend to America through the years they have been a reliable fighter for fairness to the West, the problem is so many of the OPEC countries are not that wealthy and are so dependent on oil income that there is overwhelming pressure to get from the Western and non-Middle East oil consumer as much money as possible for OPEC oil. Further, this writer is no cheer leader for President Obama's administration but one of the successes of his administration has been his reaching agreement with the car companies to push the envelope as much as it can from a economically viable standpoint on the CAFE (gas mileage) standards for motor vehicles and pushing and helping the trucking industry to convert to natural gas, the point being President Obama has done a great job in trying to get America off it's dependence on oil. The other thing that proponents of the pipeline mentioned numerous times and the opponents really showed little signs of grasping is that if the Keystone XL pipeline isn't built the oil produced from the tar sands that would have gone into this pipeline will still be produced it will just go by tankers to China, India and the other countries that have a high need to import oil, energy companies have poured too much money into Canadian Tar Sand's oil development to stop now this oil is coming on to the market the only issue that remains is who becomes the buyer of this oil! The one point that trumps every other point that one wants to mention on the topic of the Keystone XL pipeline is that the American Economy is extremely vulnerable to high oil prices this is the 500 pound gorilla in the room that no one one to talk about because there isn't a lot of tools authorities have to fix the problem. It is the utmost serious issue, today America can't take plus $4.00 gasoline it bows the American consumer and many American business even one major oil executive explicitly admitted it this situation. And the reality of the current times is that America is at the mercy of OPEC and the Oil commodity markets who both view end users as subjects to exploit. This Keystone XL pipeline will help give American oil end users helpful leverage against these adversaries of ours, so if State Department is doing its job they will approve these permits for this pipeline with strong protections for the Canadian, Indian and American people!